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on February 2, 2013
I write this review in the knowledge that probably no one will read it - there are already over 700 reviews and almost all of them are five star. This review is part of that legion and that's fine by me.

So given I am writing this review for me - I will take some licence. Firstly I have read loads of PA ficton ( favorite so far is The Old Man and the Wasteland), but I hesitated with my purchase of Swan Song. I kept coming across references and praise of Swan Song. At $10 is was a lot more than many Kindle reads I buy. Then I thought, the last few books I read were only a couple of bucks - but they were c#%^ and pretty short too. So I thought, Swan Song is over 800 pages - so even if it is just okay it is still better value. So I bought it and have not experienced buyers remorse.

Swan Song draws you in. It is a different type of PA novel as it as a mystical undertone. Not in the kind of 'roll your eyes, give me a break' way - but a spiritual side to the story that adds to its depth and humanity. There are several concurrent plots which weave together as the story unfolds. Each sub plot is interesting. What surprised me was that I became so engrossed with one story line, I literally forgot about some other characters and was surprised when they reappeared. It was ' oh of course, I had completly forgotten about you guys'. That is a really good thing showing just how easy it is to become lost in the story.

If I was being ultra critical I would say that there was a certain 'convenience' of events towards the end. Also - and yes this is just a personal bugbear, the author has obviously had limited exposure to horses. Horses do not lap water like a dog - they suck it. They also really don't behave in the way Mule did. Yes, yes I know it is a minor point - but it was one of the few times in the story where an inaccuracy brought me out of the story and back to reality.

I see many reviewers have compared this to other books ( and no I am not going to reference the books). This really gets my goat. Swan Song is an original work that stands high in its own right. It is , in my opinion, almost insulting to say 'its just like xyz', 'it's as good as xyz'. Swan Song is a great read - enough said.
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on April 2, 2017
This is a great book that follows characters, some good and some evil, through events just prior to a nuclear war. The war destroyed everything that current society values and made simple items like a match or cup of water priceless. Some characters Swan, Josh, and Sister show the very best traits we hope for from all people while others Roland shows the worst. The story is a good vs evil struggle like The Stand by Stephen King. Great read.
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on November 2, 2016
I couldn't put it down. The story was amazing, amd the characters felt just as real as I am. I laughed, my anxiety rose through the roof at times, I even cried at some points. I shed real tears over these fictional characters! How often does a book do that? I have read no better post-nuclear book in my entire time of searching and reading books that take place after a nuclear armageddon. Swan Song is so much more than just a post-apocalyptic book though. It's an experience I haven't gotten from a book in a long time. This is probably the best of the best and I wish I could forget it so I could experience it for the first time again.
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on April 24, 2017
This novel is a tale of a world destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. There are no zombies, but war is waged between the eternal forces of good and evil. The characters are so well developed that I wept over the death of my favorite. This story has heart and action in equal measure. The overall effect of the emotional turmoil wrought​ by the author can be equated to waking from a nightmare to a beautiful day.
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on April 6, 2016
As a fan of post-apocalypse fiction who cut her literary teeth on Stephen King, it was nearly impossible for me not to compare this book to The Stand. Both tell the story of a worldwide global Armageddon and its aftermath. Both follow the forces of good and evil as they converge for a final confrontation. Despite those very big similarities, they are very different books. In fact, I could probably write a short essay comparing the two. But since this review is supposed to be about Swan Song, I won't.

This book, written during the Cold War, begins when the world ends with an all out nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The few who are not killed by the blast or the ensuing radiation poisoning are left to survive in frozen, dead wasteland. Heading up Team Good is Sue Wanda "Swan" Prescott, a young girl who has a seemingly empathic ability to commune with plant life. Heading up Team Evil is The Man With Many Faces or The Man With the Scarlet Eye who, it is implied, is The Devil or some sort of demon. Though the themes are certainly biblical, very little of the book is overtly Christian. In fact, imagery from the tarot deck is sprinkled throughout the story.

This was a great story, that I probably should have read many years ago. After over a decade of true crime and post-apocalypse fiction, I found myself mentally screaming at the characters as they walked into what I knew to be an obvious trap. I forgot that this was the first time the world had ended for them, whereas I had experienced it multiple times.
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on June 6, 2017
Excellent book. First time I read this, I did it in a day. All nearly 1000 pages. I've read this book multiple times since it came out in the 80s and even got my sons interested in it. If you like PA stuff, this is the one to read.
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on June 5, 2017
So worth the investment of your time. A long book, but quite the page Turner. You will find yourself deeply invested in all of these well developed characters. Very creative and tight. Read it!
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on June 23, 2017
This is awesome! Its older than "Kings" series which i dont want to mention. I think he came uncomfortably close to this. Im surprised McCammon never said anything! This is great.
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on July 25, 2017
I enjoyed the author's writing style, it was a well polished book, but I had to put it down and clear my head several times during the first third or so as the nuclear apocalypse story was a bit too much for me. I'd never read a story like that before and the horror of it was very graphic/vividly described.

I only gave it 4 stars because at the end I was baffled by the utter non-use of one of the most important items in the story, I fully expected something spectacular to come from it and nothing did, it was a real let-down. Other than that weird loose end I really did like this book.
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on May 12, 2017
If you're in the mood for a post-apocalyptic tale as only the 1980s can deliver, then I think that Swan Song is the book to turn to instead of the oft-recommended The Stand. McCammon's prose is better, his characters more interesting, and his antagonist - Friend/The Man with the Scarlet Eye - is more compelling than Flagg.
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